Future of Education (H.887) - May 1, 2024

Representative Conlon joined the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday afternoon. The Committee wanted to hear from him about a “formal check in” from the Commission on the Future of Education in January.

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Act 250 Overhaul (S.311/H.687) - May 1, 2024

The Senate Economic Development Committee convened on Wednesday morning to review the new version of H.687, which incorporated parts of the bill they had worked on earlier in the session – S.311. Chairwoman Ram Hinsdale noted that there was a new amendment from Senator Bray that had just been released. She noted that Bray was claiming this amendment was the “holy grail of negotiations” between her and the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

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Career and Technical Education (H.304) - May 1, 2024

Chelsea Myers (Associate Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendents Association) testified in the House Education Committee on Wednesday concerning S.304, which deals Career and Technical Education. She noted that VSA had two stakeholder feedback meetings in late 2023.  Several core themes emerged from the first meeting including:

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GMCB Oversight of Drug Prices (S.98) - May 1, 2024

On Tuesday, Nolan Langweil (Principal Fiscal Analyst, Joint Fiscal Office)  reviewed S.98 with the House Appropriations Committee. The bill relates to Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) authority over prescription drug costs. The House Health Care Committee had made amendments concerning the GMCB Nominating Committee, and then passed the bill on to this Committee.

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Cooperative Education Services (H.630) - April 24, 2024

Stephanie Betit-Hancock (Director of Student Support Services, Windham Central Supervisory Union) offered to outline their work and why they support the BOCES bill to the Senate Education Committee on Friday afternoon.

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Default School Budgets - April 26, 2024

Chairwoman Kornheiser outlined a list of reasons that have led to the moment and need for a joint hearing of the House Education and Ways & Means Committees this week. School budgets have a “rough road to passage this year,” she argued, and even with the default budget that takes effect July 1st, districts will still eventually need to pass a budget. She is concerned that budgets may never pass. Additionally, the statute regarding tuitioning districts may have a little bit of conflict with itself.

She explained that after conversation with Chairman Conlon “and the field” (likely the interest groups representing school administrators) she sat down with the Joint Fiscal Office and Legislative Counsel to develop a set of scenarios as a starting point for discussions.

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Property Tax Yield Bill (H.887) - April 26, 2024

Secretary Saunders (Secretary, Agency of Education) joined the Senate Education Committee on Friday afternoon to discuss Section 1 of the property tax yield bill, H.887. The Agency supports this section which creates the Commission on the Future of Education. She did offer some clarifying language ensuring more representation of policy experts can be accessed. She her written testimony.

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Property Tax Abatements (H.629) - April 25, 2024

The House Ways & Means Committee walked through changes to H.629 with Legislative Counsel on Thursday morning. The bill would address a number of issues that arise from natural disasters impacting a property. For example, the rapid devaluation for tax purposes or the inability to pay property taxes or utilities because of repair costs.

Most of the Senate Changes were technical in nature and included updates to some of the definitions in the bill. The main sticking point for the Committee was around the interest rate charged for delinquent taxes and other bills. The House version charged 0.5% per month while the Senate Version charged 1%.

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Municipal Ethics (H.875) - April 24, 2024

Chairwoman Hardy asked Legislative Council to do a walk thru of H.875, the Ethics Bill.  Her purpose was to make sure she had a complete list of outstanding items.

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Career and Technical Education (S.304) - April 24, 2024

Chairman Conlon noted for the House Education Committee that the testimony they had received to date on S.304 was concerning to him, particularly with regards to unfunded mandates and transportation to stand-alone schools. He noted that the APA report (Study on the Funding and Governance of Career and Technical Education in Vermont) focused on funding and governance and S.304 does neither. He added that time was not on their side at this point in the session, and he was not sure what he could get done.

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